The Cleanse – Monster Mondays

The Cleanse (2016) - IMDb

Director: Bobby Miller

Writer: Bobby Miller

Starring: Johnny Galecki, Anna Friel, Oliver Platt, Anjelica Huston, Kyle Gallner, Kevin J. O’Connor, Diana Bang

Rating: ★★★1/2

The Cleanse stars Johnny Galecki as Paul Berger, a middle-aged man who is struggling after his breakup with his fiancé. He visits a café where they used to eat, only to find that the staff only vaguely remembers him. No one really wants to talk. In a desperate attempt to find help he applies to go on a retreat after seeing an advert on late night TV. Paul is chosen to go the retreat and is given four cleansing drinks that must be drank in one day. He then throws up his negativity, which forms into a little monster.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I put this on. It turns out The Cleanse is a comedy dark fantasy, and it is quite funny at points. There’s an awkward interaction between Paul and the other customers in the café at the start that sets the tone of the awkwardness of the humour. It is unsettling when he first finds the monster in the drain after throwing it up, but it never goes beyond that. It’s not trying to be scary.

The acting is surprisingly decent. Johnny Galecki is playing someone very similar to Leonard in The Big Bang Theory, very nervous around people but also talkative and tries to be as nice as possible. Anna Friel is good as Maggie, an actor who hasn’t worked in a while, but is also on the retreat. Anjelica Huston is strange and wonderful as the leader of the retreat, making her entrance by screaming as she walks into the group.

The film is really short. It’s eighty minutes, but ten of those are the credits, so it’s over at seventy. Which is good because it’s didn’t need to be any longer than that. The premise and plot is simple and concise and padding it out would have really ruined it.

Each monster shares similarities to the human it came out of. The effects are really good, with some interesting monster design and puppetry, especially towards the end as the monsters grow. They’re a little grotesque at points, and lovable the next.

The Cleanse is a surprisingly solid film, it’s entertaining in the short time that it lasts, with a fair few laughs, and some great effects. I quite liked it.

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About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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